The plan to make Oxfordshire the first ever smoke free English county has been approved.
To qualify for smoke free status, less than 5% of the adult population in the county would be smokers, half the current total.
Efforts will be concentrated on discouraging young people from taking up the habit, stopping sales of illicit tobacco, creating more smoke free areas and supporting smokers with their efforts to quit. The plan is for Oxfordshire to reach the 5% target by 2025.
If successful, Oxfordshire will reach a government target five years earlier than planned.
Eunan O’Neill, a consultant in public health at Oxfordshire County Council, said the policy would “reduce health inequalities and improve health for all residents”.
About 10% of people smoke in the county – below the English national average of 14% – but 36% of people with a serious mental illness do.
As part of the strategy, signed off by the county’s Health Improvement Partnership Board, work will be done so fewer children take up smoking in the first place.
Other efforts will focus on stopping illicit tobacco, creating more smoke-free environments and supporting smokers to quit.
The council said 2,100 people died in the county between 2015 and 2017 from smoking-related diseases.
As part of its Tobacco Control Plan for England, published in 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care said it wanted to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the population to 5% by 2030.